A portion of a peace plan intended to smooth the way for an exit from Afghanistan of U.S.-led military forces already is in trouble, before it has even gotten underway.Continue Reading
At issue is a conference between Pakistani and Afghan religious leaders scheduled for next month in Kabul, the Afghan capital, that was intended to provide religious support for efforts to resolve the war in Afghanistan. But the Pakistani clerics are refusing to participate unless the Taliban are included, something that would be impossible in Afghanistan. The Pakistanis also said they were unwilling to participate in any conference if it could be seen as an endorsement of Afghan President Hamid Karzai.
An emergency meeting Monday in Islamabad between Pakistani and Afghan delegations seemed to make no progress.
“How come people can talk to the Taliban all over the world but not in Kabul?” asked Tahir Ashrafi, chairman of the Pakistan Ulema Council, a leading organization of Pakistani clerics, who was seen as a possible leader of the Pakistani side of the conference. “We support peace talks. But if we are to discuss peace, then how can you leave out one of the parties to the war?”
The proposed conference was announced last month at a meeting in Great Britain between Karzai and Pakistani President Asif Zardari, hosted by British Prime Minister David Cameron.
With virtually no chance that the Taliban will be defeated on the battlefield, a peace deal with the insurgents is considered the most hopeful way of avoiding Afghanistan sinking into chaos as the American-led coalition force leaves next year. Washington is eagerly supporting the peace process.
February 12, 2013
Afghan peace plan in trouble as Pakistani clerics balk at proposed meeting in Kabul
Why anyone would propose a six-month deadline to an Afghan-Pakistan-US-Taliban peace agreement makes little sense, given that such a deadline is doomed to fail: